Rebecca McDougal


  • Phone: +64 7 343 5886
  • Email: Show email
  • Team: Ecology and Environment
  • Role: Senior Scientist and Team Leader, Pathogen Ecology and Control


Dr Rebecca McDougal is a microbiologist specialising in forest pathology. Her role is to apply molecular biology techniques in forest diagnostics, characterising pathogen populations and disease management.


  • PhD (Microbiology), University of Otago, New Zealand - 2007
  • MSc (Microbiology), University of Otago, New Zealand - 2002
  • BSc (Microbiology), University of Otago, New Zealand - 2000

Research capabilities

  • Forest pathology and biosecurity research
  • Molecular diagnostics of forest tree diseases
  • Genetic diversity of fungal/oomycete populations
  • Pathogen genomics, transcriptomics and environmental microbial diversity

Selected papers

Kronmiller, B. A., N. Feau, D. Shen, J. F. Tabima, S. S. Ali, A. D. Armitage, F. Arredondo, B. A. Bailey, S. R. Bollmann, A. Dale, R. J. Harrison, K. Hrywkiw, T. Kasuga, R. McDougal, C. F. Nellist, P. Panda, S. Tripathy, N. M. Williams, W. Ye, Y. Wang, R. C. Hamelin and N. J. Grunwald (2023). "Comparative Genomic Analysis of 31 Phytophthora Genomes Reveals Genome Plasticity and Horizontal Gene Transfer." Mol Plant Microbe Interact 36(1): 26-46.

Dobbie, K., P. Scott, P. Taylor, P. Panda, D. Sen, M. Dick and R. McDougal (2022). "Phytophthora podocarpi sp. nov. from Diseased Needles and Shoots of Podocarpus in New Zealand." Forests 13(2).

Cox, M. P., Y. Guo, D. J. Winter, D. Sen, N. C. Cauldron, J. Shiller, E. L. Bradley, A. R. Ganley, M. L. Gerth, R. F. Lacey, R. L. McDougal, P. Panda, N. M. Williams, N. J. Grunwald, C. H. Mesarich and R. E. Bradshaw (2022). "Chromosome-level assembly of the Phytophthora agathidicida genome reveals adaptation in effector gene families." Front Microbiol 13: 1038444.

McDougal, R. L., L. Cunningham, S. Hunter, A. Caird, H. Flint, A. Lewis and R. J. Ganley (2021). "Molecular detection of Phytophthora pluvialis, the causal agent of red needle cast in Pinus radiata." J Microbiol Methods 189: 106299.

McDougal, R. L. and R. J. Ganley (2021). "Foliar Phytophthora in New Zealand plantation forests: historical presence of Phytophthora kernoviae and association with a previously undiagnosed disorder of Pinus radiata." Australasian Plant Pathology 50(6): 747-759.

Tabima, J., L. Gonen, M. Gómez-Gallego, P. Panda, N. J. Grünwald, R. McDougal, E. Hansen, J. Leboldus and N. M. Williams (2020). Molecular phylogenomics and population structure of Phytophthora pluvialis. Phytopathology 111(1): 108-115. DOI: 10.1094/PHYTO-06-20-0232-FI.

Guo, Y., Dupont, P. Y., Mesarich, C. H., Yang, B., McDougal, R. L., Panda, P., Dijkwel, P., Studholme, D. J., Sambles, C., Win, J., Wang, Y., Williams, N. M., & Bradshaw, R. E. (2020). Functional analysis of RXLR effectors from the New Zealand kauri dieback pathogen Phytophthora agathidicida. Mol Plant Pathol.  doi:10.1111/mpp.12967

Nahrung, H. F., Lewis, A. S. R., Ridenbaugh, R. D., Allen, G. R., Reid, C. A. M., McDougal, R. L., & Withers, T. M. (2020). Expansion of the geographic range of the eucalypt pest Paropsisterna cloelia (Stål) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) through synonymy and invasion. Austral Entomology, 59(3), 619-629.  doi:10.1111/aen.12476

Inwood, S., G. McLaughlin, T. Buckley, M. Cox, K. Handley, T. Steeves, T. Strabala, R. McDougal and P. Dearden (2020). "Opportunities for modern genetic technologies to maintain and enhance Aotearoa New Zealand’s bioheritage." New Zealand Journal of Ecology 44(2). DOI: 10.20417/nzjecol.44.22

Guo, Y., P.-Y. Dupont, C. H. Mesarich, B. Yang, R. L. McDougal, P. Panda, P. Dijkwel, D. Studholme, C. Sambles, J. Win, Y. Wang, N. M. Williams and R. E. Bradshaw (2020). "Functional analysis of RXLR effectors from the New Zealand kauri dieback pathogen Phytophthora agathidicida." Molecular Plant Pathology 21(9), 1131-1148. DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12967

Flies, E. J., L. S. Weyrich, R. Vemuri, B. Sutcliffe, T. Staples, S. L. S. Sow, E. J. Raes, R. McDougal, D. Kendal, J. Freeman, N. M. Fountain-Jones, R. Eri, F. Dewi, V. Dakwa, M. Charleston, A. Chariton, M. F. Breed, L. A. Barmuta, H. Ammitzboll, P. J. Jones and L. J. Clarke (2020). "Mainstreaming Microbes across Biomes." BioScience 70(7), 589-596. DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biaa057

Vetukuri, R. R., L. Masini, R. McDougal, P. Panda, L. de Zinger, M. Brus-Szkalej, Å. Lankinen and L. J. Grenville-Briggs (2020). "The presence of Phytophthora infestans in the rhizosphere of a wild Solanum species may contribute to off-season survival and pathogenicity." Applied Soil Ecology 148. DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2019.103475

Bradshaw, R.E., Bellgard, S. E., Black, A., Burns, B.R., Gerth, M. L., McDougal, R. L., Scott, P. M., Waipara, N. W., Weir, B. S., Williams, N. M., Winkworth, R. C., Ashcroft, T., Bradley, E. L., Dijkwel, P.P., Guo, Y., Lacey, R. F., Mesarich, C. H., Panda, P., Horner, I. J. Phytophthora agathidicida: Research progress, cultural perspectives and knowledge gaps in the control and management of kauri dieback in New Zealand. Plant Pathol, 2020. 69(1): p. 3-16. DOI: 10.1111/ppa.13104

Guo, Y., Hunziker, L., Mesarich, C. H., Chettri, P., Dupont, P. Y., Ganley, R.J., McDougal, R. L., Barnes, I., Bradshaw, R. E. DsEcp2-1 is a polymorphic effector that restricts growth of Dothistroma septosporum in pine. Fungal Genet Biol, 2019: p.103300.

Bradshaw, R.E., Ormond, S., Dupont, P.Y., Chettri, P., Ozturk, I.K., McDougal, R.L., Bulman, L.S., Cox, M.P. Reduced Virulence of an Introduced Forest Pathogen over 50 Years. Microorganisms, 2019. 7(10): p. 420.

Bradshaw, R.E., Sim, A. D., Chettri, P., Dupont, P. Y., Guo, Y., Hunziker, L., McDougal, R. L., Van der Nest, A., Fourie, A., Wheeler, D., Cox, M. P., Barnes, I. Global population genomics of the forest pathogen Dothistroma septosporum reveal chromosome duplications in high dothistromin-producing strains. Mol Plant Pathol, 2019. 20: p. 784-799.

LeBoldus, J., Kerio, S., H. Daniels, M. Gomez-Gollego, J. Tabima, R. Lenz, K. Sondreli, N. Grunwald, N. Williams and R. McDougal (2019). From genomes to forest management – tackling invasive Phytophthora species in the era of genomics. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 2019. (in press) DOI: 10.1080/07060661.2019.1626910.

Scott, P., P. Taylor, J. Gardner, A. Puértolas, P. Panda, S. Addison, I. Hood, T. Burgess, I. Horner, N. Williams, and R. McDougal (2019). “Phytophthora aleatoria sp. nov., associated with root and collar damage on Pinus radiata from nurseries and plantations.” Australasian Plant Pathology. DOI: 10.1007/s13313-019-00631-5.

Ozturk, I., Dupont, P.-Y., Chettri, P., McDougal, R.L., Böhl, O., Cox, R., Bradshaw, R.E. (2019) “Evolutionary relics dominate the small number of secondary metabolism genes in the hemibiotrophic fungus Dothistroma septosporum”. Fungal Biology. 123(5):  397-407. DOI: 10.1016/j.funbio.2019.02.006.

Bradshaw, R., A.D. Sim, P. Chettri, P.Y. Dupont, Y. Guo, L. Hunziker, R.L. McDougal, A. van der Nest, A. Fourie, D. Wheeler, M.P. Cox, and I. Barnes (2019) Global population genomics of the forest pathogen Dothistroma septosporum reveal chromosome duplications in high dothistromin-producing strains. Molecular Plant Pathology. DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12791.

Hunter, S., N. Williams, R. McDougal, P. Scott and M. Garbelotto (2018). "Evidence for rapid adaptive evolution of tolerance to chemical treatments in Phytophthora species and its practical implications." PLoS One 13(12): e0208961.

Studholme, D. J., P. Panda, E. Sanfuentes Von Stowasser, M. González, R. Hill, C. Sambles, M. Grant, N. M. Williams and R. L. McDougal* (2018). "Genome sequencing of oomycete isolates from Chile supports the New Zealand origin of Phytophthora kernoviae and makes available the first Nothophytophthora sp. genome." Molecular Plant Pathology DOI: doi:10.1111/mpp.12765